15 years and ­counting for ­WPMJGA

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On Aug. 22 the place to be for the junior golfer was Oakmont Country Club. The West Penn Minority Junior Golf Association celebrated 15 years and their Seventh Annual Black Tie Gala.

In 1995 Robert “Rock” Robinson along with his childhood friend Raiford Beasley, founded ­WPMJGA. It was the brainchild of Rock after he participated in a National Minority Junior Golf Association tournament in Phoenix, Ariz.

ReadyForCloseup
READY FOR THEIR CLOSE UP—Stormy Brice, Caitlin Webster, Nina Hector, Sable Goodwin, Zamar Ushery, Jack Webster, Jacquez Ushery and Matthew Goodnight.

Robinson and Beasley began to establish a program that would teach young people in the Pittsburgh community the game of golf while at the same time gaining access to local golf courses.

Robinson says about 160 kids have passed through the program and 98 percent have gone on to college or the armed forces. “We have used golf as an instrument to educate,” said Robinson. The young golfers and their families enjoyed the stately ambiance of Oakmont Country Club during the VIP reception with music by Bashir & You providing the soundtrack. After dinner it was time for the presentation of youths where the best of the best received their beautiful trophies.

Zamar Ushery and Jack Webster tied in the Most Potential category and Nina Hector was selected as Rookie of the Year. The Challenge winners were Caitlin Webster, Samantha Graves and Matthew Goodnight. Jacquez Ushery and Kaille Gasparovic were Most Improved and Sable Goodwin was Most Valuable Player. Aja Gasparovic, a seven-year veteran of the program is heading off to the University of Pittsburgh and received the first Marilyn Louise Robinson Scholarship and the senior send-off. The scholarship was created by Robinson and his sisters Marva Robinson and Andrea Haynie, who were present to present the award to Aja.

Each attendee received a souvenir copy of the West Penn Minority Junior Golf Digest that told their story through the years: the trips, camps, sponsors and the valuable experiences creating memories that will last a lifetime.

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